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258 Deity Digressions

 The god of undeath, divine Patron of the Undead Legion, watched as Demiurge cavorted back and forth in front of the golden doors. The Prime Architect of Creation was doing the chicken dance. Poorly.

Dave looked around uncomfortably. The two angels, Celestial messengers and Guardians of the Golden Door had taken positions to either side, yielding the stage to their Most-High Lord. They were deliberately looking anywhere but at the dancing deity. The expressions on their inhumanly smooth faces were neutral, but Dave felt a sense of increasing embarrassment coming from them as Demiurge danced.

Who was now moonwalking and pop-locking.

Dave resisted the urge to face-palm.

'This fucking guy needs to calm the fuck down. Even his almighty divine-douchebag act was better.'

He glanced at the god of undeath, calmly watching his fellow deity's antics.

'And this one. Why the fuck did he bring me along if it's against the "rules"? Fucking gods and their shit. So NOT worth the trouble.'

Demiurge was in the middle of either a seizure or the worst robot dance Dave had ever seen. Then he switched to a booty dance, popping it backwards at the god of undeath and slapping his rear in time to a beat only he could hear.

The punk god raised a hand, "Okay, stop embarrassing yourself and everyone else, Rumpshaker. You got it all wrong, I'm here because the balance is swinging more in my favor."

The dancing deity came to a figurative screeching stop. He turned to face them, horrified.

"WHAT?!?! NO! That's inconceivable! You brought your pet undead-"

"Shut up, Demi-ass. You brag about that ball of mud you 'created' but you have no interest in being part of it. Worse, you have no clue what your jack-booted Church minions are doing. That's why we are here now."

"No- What?" Demiurge lifted his head regally, and spoke in formal tones,"Our House is in order, the malefactors were purged from Our Holy Church!

"I have taken no action against you or your demesnes."

"I know that Demi-dick. You're too lazy to get involved in politics and intrigue. But your non-involvement is why your Church fanatics keep meddling IN MY AFFAIRS!"

The last few words came out in a scream full of righteous fury. Dave cringed again, steeling himself for more Bad Words.

The punk god reigned himself in with a visible effort.

"You need to-"

"Don't tell me how to run my demesne, Nicholas!"

"NICHOLAS?" Dave blurted.

The punk god winced but ignored Dave.

"I'm not telling you how to run your demesne. I AM formally giving you notice that your Church is violating the rules. I'm here to go down there with you right now and un-cluster their interference in my demesne."

"I'm not going down there! It's filthy and crowded."

"Descend and lay down some divine wrath, oh mighty smiter, show the sinners who's boss, take the helm and fix what needs fixing. Or else."

The god of undeath had a switchblade in his hand and he was glaring up at the golden god.

Demiurge's face turned an alarming shade of puce, the immense god drew a deep breath to shout a rebuttal. Then his shoulders slumped and Dave felt a gust of wind as the god exhaled in resignation.

"Fine, fine, you win. It's just not fair! Somehow the rules always seem to work out in your favor."

Demiurge shrank rapidly down to human size and joined them. He waved a hand and a golden door frame in human proportions appeared.

"I suppose we should just get this over with so I can get back to my na- my very important work."

The god of undeath smirked and gestured grandly for the golden god to precede them through the golden doorway.

Grand pillars lined the walls, framing stained-glass windows and rows of wooden pews covered most of the floor space. They were in a church. Statues and icons of Demiurge were everywhere.

Dave checked his map, it was back online and showed their location was the Northern Kingdom's grand cathedral.

A priest in ornate regalia entered the cathedral from a small side door. Catching sight of the glowing figure of his god the priest dropped to his knees and tried to bury his face in the stone floor, trembling.

"Hmph. Yes, yes, you have demonstrated your utter devotion to Our divine self. Where is Our supreme pontiff? We would have words with him."

The priest looked up at Demiurge, "His Holiness is not here, he has withdrawn to his spiritual sanctuary for the day."

Demiurge frowned. He waved and another golden door-frame appeared, revealing an oversized, overstuffed four poster bed with cardinal-red and cloth-of-gold sheets and covers.

The wrinkled flaccid buttocks of a very naked, very old man worked rhythmically at a well endowed, very young woman underneath him.

"Dammit Demi, I can't un-see that, it's in my brain now. You swore to stop peeping after they caught you at school."

"No! I didn't mean to- Shut up, Nicholas!"

Dave looked away hastily, "That doesn't look very spiritual to me."

The priest peered into the door and gasped, "Sister Melinda!"

The old naked man jumped off the woman. Dave thought he was pretty spry for such an old dude. The woman shrieked and ran screaming out of the room, though she retained the presence of mind to grab her clothes on the way.

The supreme pontiff sat against the headboard, staring back at them. He opened his mouth and closed it a few times, but nothing came out.

Finally he managed, "My Lord Demiurge, this is truly a blessing."

Scrambling off the bed, the pontiff threw a robe around his body to everyone's relief. Then he fell to his knees, intoning, "Most Divine, most Bright, most High and greatest of gods, Lord of Light, Maker of the World, Lord Demiurge, how can I serve thee."

"Ah yes, good to see you too, Jeffrey. " Demiurge said agreeably. The praise and adulation seemed to wipe any concern for the probity of his foremost representative on the mortal plain..

"That's it!? This poseur was- well we all saw what he was doing," Dave was outraged. The guy was the leader of a church.

"Our followers are imperfect, it is Our duty to forgive them and grant them grace," Demiurge said beautifically.

The undeath god snorted, "A little ass-kissing and suddenly you are all about duty."

The pontiff smiled, "Our Lord's wisdom is truly inspiring. I am blessed and humbled to lead the Divine One's Holy Church and shepherd his flock."

"Dude, you were schtupping one of his 'flock.'

"I don't know what you are talking about, heathen undead."

'Really? He's going with the "It wasn't me" defense? Shaggy would bust a gut.'

"I'm not interested in your Church's inner workings Demi. Just get on with it."

"Stop telling me what to do, Nicholas! Jeffrey, where is the woman?"

"What woman, Most High? " the pontiff asked innocently.

"Whatsername, the daughter of the undead king. We are here for her."

"Oh, that woman. Yes, she is a vile one. I sent her to the flagellation chamber to renounce her sins and welcome the embrace of the Church."

"Yeah, embrace," Dave rolled his eyes. The punk god coughed and smirked, but everyone else ignored Dave's comment.

"Where is the flagellation room?" the undeath god asked.

"In the catacombs under the cathedral," the pope replied.

The cardinal nodded and Dave, Demiurge and the punk god followed after him. They walked through a stone hallway lit by torches hung on the walls.

Dave sidled up to the god of undeath on the way to the flagellation room.

"So. Nicholas. We're having such lovely weather today. Nicholas. I'm looking forward to getting this done. Nicholas."

The punk god gave him a sour look as they walked down the hall.

"What's your point, kid."

"Oh, I have lots of points. Nicholas. The first is: we made a deal, you were supposed to stop calling me kid. Nicholas."

Nicholas smirked, "I promised to stop. I didn't say for how long."

Dave glared at him, "It's gonna be like that? Nick?"

"I don't know why you're oversaying it. Nicholas is a good name. You don't have anything on me."

Dave nodded vigorously, "Oh absolutely. It's a much better name than 'Elliot,' for example. Yeah, Nick's a real name, Nick's your buddy, the kind of guy you trust, the kind of guy you can drink beer with. Nick.

"But Nick almighty? Nick, god of undeath? Nick the Dread Lord of the Undead? Not so much," Dave was smiling gleefully. Mortal or god, payback is a bitch.

Nick the god glared at the draugr, "Y'know, I could choose another apostle, one with less piss and more respect. Then I wouldn't have to listen to your nonsense."

"Awww, is that all you got? Nicky boy? I quite like being Undeath's Apostle, Nick. Means I get to spend more quality time with my buddy. Nick."

Dave heard the sound of grinding teeth coming from beside him.

"Heh heh, it's tough to get the last word in when you can't just poof away, hmmm, Nicholas?"

The hallway led to stairs that went down into a labyrinth of corridors. After a confusing number of turns they stopped at a steel door. The sound of muffled whines and cries echoed from beyond the door.

"This is it."

The cardinal unlocked the door with one of the many dozens of keys he kept on a thick metal hoop. The stench of old blood wafted out.

"My Good Self, this place is nasty," Demiurge waved a hand in front of his nose and dug around in his pockets for a hanky.

Two men in hoods and bloodstained aprons looked up at them from the middle of the room where they stood over a stone table with a woman strapped to it. Prison cells lined the walls, crowded with men and women huddling together on the filth covered floors.

The torturers held golden crosses and blood slicked leather flails.

She was battered and bloodied, but Dave still recognized the woman strapped to the table, it was Eleanor. They'd found her!

"Motherfuckers," Dave roared, equipped his sword and stomped his way toward the two white robes.

"Not now, kid. Let's just get her out of here," Nick the god grabbed Dave's shoulder.

Demiurge remained silent for a moment then said, "I should have taken better care of them."

"They taught us all about this stuff at god school, Demi-failure. But you never took it seriously, you were too busy partying and being creepy."

"Right, I've had enough of this," Demiurge's tone was grim. He clapped his hands with a thunderous ear-splitting boom.

The blood stains and the smells were scrubbed away instantly. The people disappeared from the cells. Only Eleanor was left, her wounds healed now, but still on the table.

Dave moved until he was face to face with her, peering down at her.

"Eleanor, you're safe now," Dave spoke softly to the woman.

Eleanor started when she saw opened her eyes and saw a draugr within her personal space.

"I recognize you. You're the one who escorted me from the Underworld," her face crumbled, "My father is gone isn't he?"

Tears welled up in her eyes and overflowed.

"Eleanor, we can bring your father back, but we need your help," Dave said confidently.

"I'm not undead, what can I do?"

Dave turned to Nick, the god of undeath.

Nick moved to where Eleanor could see him, "No worries, luv. No need for you to be undead. You've got your father's blood in you, and that's what we need."

The punk kid made the shard of Death Heart appear, "Hold out your hand, luv."

He grabbed her hand and turned it palm up, then jabbed the pad of her finger with a needle and turned her hand over so that a drop of blood fell onto the shard of Death Heart.

"That's it?" Eleanor asked.

Nick looked at her for a moment, "Waste not."